Midmarket businesses must be ready for changing ERP winds

July 22nd, 2014

Enterprise resource planning software is constantly experiencing changes under the weight of innovative IT trends. In recent years, cloud computing has been the most significant of these developments, offering small and mid-sized businesses the opportunity to achieve a cost-effective ERP implementation. CFO recently reported that the cloud, as well as compliance and consumerization, will greatly impact the midmarket's use of ERP solutions moving forward.

Companies planning an ERP deployment should know that all midmarket vendors offer data mining and BI solutions, the news source reported. Adopters should choose a system that creates relevant information that is easily configurable and accessible.

"Make sure the information covers every aspect of your business, and that the tools provided are easily accessible within the application and available to use without resorting to the IT department," suggested Malcolm Fox, marketing vice president at a leading ERP vendor, according to the news source. "Show me sales data for the Midwest. Now show me sales data for Chicago. Show me my top and bottom performers."

Cloud computing has been a boon to the adoption of ERP suites, making the software readily available to more companies than just enterprises. Infor solutions, in particular, are becoming more cloud-based to support this growing trend. Mark Humphlett, industry and strategy director at Infor, said the cloud offers firms cost savings, agility, and a faster time to market, CFO reported.

He added that more organizations are confident in adopting cloud ERP to modernize business processes.

Accessibility is one aspect of cloud computing that cannot be overstated enough. Employees today are using more than just laptops to access enterprise suites such as ERP software. Devices like tablets and even smartphones make it possible for workers to view timely and valuable data anywhere at any time, improving their decision-making in the process.

Avoid ERP mishaps by partnering with the right vendor

Firms planning an ERP implementation in the near future must do their due diligence when selecting both software and a vendor. ERP launches and subsequent use of these suites are not easily made successful, so it is crucial for businesses to have a reputable partner in their corner.

CFO cited a Panorama Consulting survey from 2013 to highlight the challenges with deployments. The study found that the average ERP project last year cost $2.8 million, lasting 16 months. What is most concerning is that 54 percent of respondents said their initiatives exceeded initial budgets.

So where can companies turn to avoid becoming another statistic? Infor boasts some of the most reputable ERP solutions on the market. A Nucleus Research report named Infor among the top three service providers in this field during the first half of 2014.

"Customers want predictable time to value and lower ongoing costs, making cloud solutions and those with limited customization requirements much more attractive," said Rebecca Wettemann, research vice president at Nucleus. "Deep industry functionality and usability investments are driving competitive advantage in the market."

The Nucleus report also emphasized that the best ERP vendors offer expertise in various industry verticals, especially analytics and cloud computing solutions, both of which are core organizational applications.

Achieving an effective ERP deployment is not easy and it may never be a smooth process anytime soon. However, firms can limit any complications long before the system goes live if they have the right provider in place - one that not only supports their unique operational requirements but specific industry demands as well. Nucleus asserted that ERP is not a "one-size-fits-all application," so finding a vendor that offers personalized support is more valuable than the most inexpensive software.

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